The discussion, entitled “Digital Trade and Economic Development of Arab and Middle Eastern countries”, was moderated by Hamid Mamdouh, Senior Counsel at King & Spalding. It comprised speakers from the Arab and Middle Eastern region and the Geneva-based trade community. The themes under discussion were:
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region's economy and the growth of digital trade in traditional economic activity
- the importance of digital trade to the region's economic diversification
- the private sector's perspective on digital solutions for financial inclusion.
The programme and presentations can be accessed here.
The discussion took place during the WTO's first online Regional Trade Policy Course for WTO members and observers in the Arab and Middle Eastern region. The course was held from 7 December 2020 to 25 March 2021 with the participation of 16 government officials. The countries represented were: Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. This course is one of several online training activities organized by the WTO Secretariat to ensure trade-related technical assistance continues to be made available to government officials from WTO members and observers in spite of the pandemic.
Organized by the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, the course aimed to replicate most of the training components offered by face-to-face regional trade policy courses. It touched upon the WTO agreements, trade rules and procedures, and regional trade policy issues. It consisted of self-learning, interactive case studies and exercises and live webinars by WTO experts and trade-policy academics and practitioners from the region.
A video of the discussion can be accessed here.